a good day

Today was a binge-study day. I have to write an essay and prepare a presentation on the manufacture of silk and I’m running out of time. So it was a long, long day of research and writing — I forgot to set an alarm and woke up at 9, threw on clothes and bolted out the door. I’m home again finally at 10PM and I am so weary… but I am really happy, not because I have done all my schoolwork (I haven’t! Argh! damn my stupid cold which knocked me out for most of the last 10 days!), but because during the course of the day I had two nice surprises.

One was an invitation to do this course:

I fell in love with Abby’s delicate, enchanting work when I visited her studio a few months ago. I was moaning just yesterday to some of my fellow students how I’m anxious about not getting enough hands-on experience with the materials I’m interested in — which are ceramics and bronzes. Everyone has messed around with clay and made basic pots in their childhood, but how often do you get an opportunity to sit down with an artist and learn more about porcelain? AND I will be taking home my own piece at the end of the month! I have a feeling it will be a pathetic copy of Abby’s own style as I adore her tiny porcelain pots and her prints… I hope she sees it as a case of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”! I don’t have much artistic creativity but I do get very inspired by other people. And if you’re in Melbourne you should check it out too! you can click the picture to read more about the course.

ANYWAY. The other nice thing today was getting to Skype (silently, from the library) with my superhero boyfriend. It’s not normally an option but he has trekked down to Kabul from the Bamiyan mountains and I got to see his ginger face for the first time since February. Not for long though, as it was mostly a blurry pixellated screen (hence why we rarely Skype anyway). I got a little over-excited and wished him happy birthday, but it turns out I got the date wrong. How do I still get the date wrong after writing it on a million forms when we were in France… too busy thinking about Bombyx Mori I guess. Fingers crossed my birthday parcel sent on the 16th of April reaches him by the end of the week!

Totally counts as studying: June 2011, James and me on the Lake Como — a major centre for silk in Italy! We were taking our motorcycle on the ferry and it was very hot and my biker pants were very uncomfortable… but it was still absolutely beautiful.
00000Como photo IMG_0625-2.jpg



I found these in my Photobucket. I wish that I had actually taken a camera with me when we were traveling. There’s a limit to what an ancient iphone can do. Still, I remember it all very clearly.

Lake Como, Italy

In Como, when we were stumbling down a steep mountain path in order to get back to our hotel a little faster, in the pitch dark, there were dozens of fireflies blinking all around us. I remember how the first one scared me (I am a bit of a wimp and have a vivid imagination), but then I grew used to them and the numbers grew all around us. By the time we reached the road (also unlit), there were so many clustered over the cliff-face that it looked like morse code or Christmas lights, almost like a a pattern being transmitted across the mountain-side.

Ruckheim, Swiss Alps

Going over the Alps between Italy and Switzerland on a motorbike was both thrilling and terrifying — no need for a particularly vivid imagination when you are riding roads like those. The views were spectacular but on the back of a motorbike, you really feel like you could just fall off the side of the mountain at any second — anyone who is scared of heights will understand that feeling of being sucked at by the huge empty space just metres away from you. But I survived. And went for a couple of great walks — it’s not so scary when you have your feet on the ground, and can look out to amazing views. The weather wasn’t great, and the iPhone didn’t capture much of it… but I still remember how the peaks looked with clouds traveling over them and carrying on and on into the distance. I hope I will keep on remembering them. I spent many hours perched on that bike this summer, looking at the Alps (French, Italian and Swiss) and just drinking it in. Mountains are fabulous!

my 2011

A year ago I was in Australia, on Phillip Island with James, Nadege, and Ash. It feels like that was a long, long time ago. Since then I have:

— acquired Australian permanent residency:

— quit my job (three little words, a lot of drama)

— sold all my possessions

(pictured: Nom and Mansa, two of my favourite girls in the world, modeling some of the crap I flogged at my yard sale)

— gone on a variety of manic road trips around Australia with James and the White Knight

— run 107km with miCoach, 345km with RunKeeper, and an estimated 15km with James this summer (I know, wow, right??!), which adds up to a total of 467km. There was a biiiig gap in running due to the fact that I…

— travelled around Europe from April to August, mostly on the back of this motorbike.

 It wasn’t quite the self-indulgent experience we had planned, but I squeezed in time in a number of countries:

—  England (London, Devon), France (most of the Lot department, Biarritz & Bayonne, Marseille, Strasbourg, Paris), Spain (San Sebastian), Italy (Florence, Lake Como), Switzerland (some tiny village in the Alps), Belgium (Brussels, Knock), and Sweden (Gothenburg). One day I will get round to writing at least a bit about my travels. I also moved to Taiwan where I have visited Penghu and Taidong as well as of course Taipei. I also spent significant amounts of time pacing up and down the airports of: Abu Dhabi; Copenhagen; Moscow; Beijing. #jetsetting #namedropping

— lost my boyfriend, running buddy and close friend James to MSF after they whisked him away to Uganda out of the blue. A lot of the time I’m ok with this and chalk it up to fate taking us our separate ways. Sometimes I’m not so ok with this. 

— gone back to Mandarin school and somehow heaved my way back up to upper intermediate/advanced level.

— learned to really, truly, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, love my own company. 

— found the Hash House Harriers — I have no words. 

2012 promises: Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, finish school, get a new job, run two half-marathons, and more…